About neurodiversity

pillar or round stones

What is neurodiversity?

The idea behind neurodiversity is that there is no one, “right” way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits. People sense, process and interact with the world differently; difficulties occur when people are forced to conform to the “norm”. Neurotypical is the term used to describe people who develop and function at a similar rate and way to their peers.

Neurodivergent diagnoses could include:

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder (also called Autism or Autism Spectrum Condition)
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Dyslexia
  • Dyspraxia
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance
  • Tourette’s Syndrome

I am happy to support people with or without a diagnosis—please see the following information for how I can support you.

Frances profile pic

Neurodiversity in counselling

While I was training to be a counsellor, I received a diagnosis of autism. As an autistic counsellor, I recognise the unique needs of neurodivergent clients. My professional experience and training are helpful but it’s my experience within the neuro-affirming community where I learn most.

I was diagnosed with autism at the age of 39 and it helped me make sense of things that had previously been hugely confusing and distressing.

While it is not the place of a counsellor to make a diagnosis, I’m able to counsel anyone, with or without a diagnosis, who feels they would benefit from someone who has an understanding of what it’s like to feel:

  • “Like an alien”
  • “Like no-one else understands”
  • “Other therapies haven’t worked”
  • “I don’t know where else to turn”

The person-centred counselling that I offer can help make sense of how you feel and we’ll work together towards the future you want.

I’m also counsel people touched by neurodiversity in other ways. For example a sibling, child or parents who is neurodivergent can have a huge impact on your life. Grappling with anger, confusion, frustration and overwhelm are all part of the counselling journey.

comforting holding hands

How can counselling help?

The following are common issues I encounter:

  • Questioning identity
  • Ambivalence regarding getting a diagnosis
  • Coming to terms with a diagnosis
  • Feeling stuck/struggling with emotions
  • Work related issues/reasonable adjustments
  • Relationship difficulties

The person-centred counselling approach I use means I will be guided by you. Exploring the issues openly, honestly, non-judgementally, with empathy and compassion means we’ll be able to make progress in any area you want.

Frances, red haired female in glasses and purple jumper

Offering flexibility

I recognise that neurodivergent clients may need adjustments; I’ll listen carefully to ensure you get what you need. Adjustments could include:

  • More details about how counselling works
  • Clearer explanations about where and how we’ll meet
  • Flexibility over timings (shorter/longer sessions or fortnightly sessions, for example)
  • Support with executive dysfunction
  • Taking into account sensory needs
  • Different ways of communicating during sessions (when feeling overwhelmed, for example)

If you’re not neurodivergent and feel these adjustments would be helpful, I’m more than happy to discuss your needs.


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